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McMillan and Wife

NOSTALGIA I’m guilty. I confess that I adore watching re-runs of McMILLAN and Wife every Sunday.Admittedly Sally was portrayed as a cute, hapless dimwit (every man’s dream wife in the -70s), and the lovey-dovey relationship between Mac and her was...

Sex, Murder, Shopping (NYT, 4/13)

SEX, MURDER, SHOPPING (NYT, 4/13) Let me be clear: I would LOVE to have my novels reviewed by Janet Maslin, chief book critic of the NYTimes. Even a lukewarm mention translates into visibility, sales and prestige. Even an acknowledgement by the Grey Lady that an...

DORITO DOLDRUMS A sour observation in the New York Times book review (2/21) suggested that commercial fiction, that opiate of the masses, is comparable to a Dorito-a tasty but ephemeral treat with no lasting benefit. Literary fiction, however, is equated with “books of value,” a type of vital nutrition for the soul. I note that the author mentions the supposed financial rewards of commercial fiction (LOL) several times. With marked distain, she remarks that literary fiction exceeds “market value” and commercial appeal. Pity the poor purveyor of novels that seek to engage and entertain a wide audience. The literary establishment inveighs against such goals and often indoctrinates MFA students against them. Pretentious prose masquerading as “deep thinking” can bore the pants off readers. However, works by Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and a fellow named Shakespeare were originally geared toward the masses yet cherished by millions of readers in subsequent generations. Commercial or literary fiction—you be the judge. I believe both can coexist peacefully without diminishing either. PS—I researched the author of that piece, a well-respected and erudite woman who has won numerous literary honors. Too bad that her published works sound as dull as dishwater. I guarantee that they will never pander to the great unwashed.

Turning A Blind Eye

TURNING A BLIND EYE All my life I have been blessed with abundant good health and I now realize how smug that has made me. When a crisis hit (detached retina), I was totally unprepared for the helplessness it sparked and the primal fear of blindness it provoked. In...

Dollars To Donuts

DOLLARS TO DONUTS Yesterday I received a disquieting message from American Express-you know, the pulse-quickening, heart-wrenching kind that warns of fraudulent credit card charges. My chat with an account representative revealed that 2 charges ($100. & $50.)...

Remembrance of Easter Past

REMEMBRANCE OF EASTERS PAST In my youth Easter was a major event, less for its religious significance than for fashion impact. As devout Catholics, my parents insisted that their daughters enroll at parochial schools and participate in all the related rituals. Church...